Autumn Face

Trudge through the drizzle to the foot of a hill where they filmed Middle Earth ten years ago, to the pile of concrete blocks that houses your beloved flat. Look up at the mist rising off the reconstituted native forest. Look down at the full gutters and the empty mailbox. Throw your shopping bags on your bedroom floor, wring the rain out of your hat and put the pasta water on before you even change out of your wet clothes. You put the flanellette sheets on the bed last week and your last load of washing has been on the drying racks for two days.

It’s just a gray Saturday, it’s just shopping, it’s not a big deal. Weekend errands, stuff that has to get done. Didn’t stop you from scowling through the streets of your drippy April city, from catching sight of yourself in a plate glass window on Lambton Quay and seeing nothing but forehead creases and undereye bags. You got annoyed at your poor orange iPod that has never done anything to you but play music directly into your ears. and stumped between stores with nothing to listen to but the rain and the other bedraggled shoppers sidling under the overhangs.

A strange week: long and short, fast and slow. You listened and talked and thought a lot, you lived almost entirely in your head except for Wednesday night yoga and a decent fritatta. You can’t tell if you’re bored or overwhelmed, you can’t tell if you need excitement or relaxation. You can’t tell if you need all new friends, or all your old friends, or no friends at all. You missed people all over the world, this week. You worried. You told yourself not to worry so much.

You eat some tortellini with pesto, check email and Facebook in your blue robot hoodie and new socks. You think about boiling water for tea and about your costume for this evening’s gig, which you really should be working on right now because that lion’s mane isn’t going to build itself. You look out the window to the empty clothesline in the back garden, under which last weekend you saw a hedgehog genially doing its thing. The birds aren’t bothered by the rain; there’s a crop of sparrows or silvereyes or something calmly wrenching berries or nuts or seeds from whatever that tree is out there.

You stretch your legs and try to remember where you left your safety pins and other craft supplies. You’ll put the tea on, unpack your bags, go about your business, get over yourself, while the rain rains down and Mt. Victoria hides its autumn face.

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1 comment

  1. Ooooh, I can see Mt. Victoria in my mind’s eye now. Thanks for this post. Even if it was just a tiny glimpse into an otherwise unremarkable afternoon, blog entries like this one are partially why I moved to Wellington in the first place.

    By the way, one of the first things I told Angela [a mutual Wellington pal] when she arrived here in Melbourne: “Your clothes will dry overnight!”